To further underscore the risks: Indonesia's forests contain 10 per cent of the world's plants, 12 per cent of the world's mammals, 16 per cent of the world's reptile-amphibians, and 17 per cent of the world's bird species. Massive clearance of forests, particularly primary forests, leads to extinctions, floods, reduced river flows, as well as huge fires.
It may seem like we're going off-topic here with all this talk about the various sources of greenhouse emissions, but the point remains the same -- driving a gas-powered car doesn't affect the environment as much as you think. You can throw your car away and replace it with a hybrid or a bike, if you like, but the environment will still be in trouble.
The world first heard urgent climate change warnings in 1988, issued by an international meeting of climatologists in Toronto. The evidence then was so compelling that one report declared global warming a threat to human survival second only to nuclear war and called for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 15 years. The anecdotes in a new film, Climate Change in Atlantic Canada, add up to an overwhelming warning that social, economic and ecological costs are rapidly mounting and we must take climate change seriously. As one person says, "If you don't believe it, just look out the window."
The IPCC just released the first of four chapters of its Fifth Assessment Report. It shows scientists are more certain now that humans are largely responsible for global warming. When they say 95 per cent certain -- as the latest report does regarding human contributions to climate change -- that's as close to certainty as science usually gets. Evidence for climate change itself is "unequivocal."
Clayoquot Sound has become known around the world as a test area for conservation and for economic activities that don't undermine the environment. Yet little progress has been made in securing legislated protection for Clayoquot's ancient forests and in advancing the title, rights and community aspirations of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations of the area.
By abandoning the UN Desertification Convention, as well as other important international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, Canada is sending the wrong message to the world community. We're saying that exporting resources like oil and timber matter more to us than contributing to dialogue and partnership on global issues.